Human Resource Management and Employee Retention: Empirical Analyses using new Linked Employer-Employee Data


The aim of this research project is to continue our investigation of the link between an employers` use of human resource management practices and employees` perceived quality of work as well as their decision to stay with their employer. In addition to pursuing the research questions laid out in our initial proposal, we further developed the Linked Personnel Panel (LPP), a combined employer and employee panel survey on the use of personnel management practices and employee perceptions.

One of our innovations in the employer survey is to introduce questions that measure both changes in HR policies and the reasons for these changes, helping us to single out exogenous variation that can be used for the identification of causal effects. Our employee survey innovates by interviewing workers who remained with their employers on potential search activities on the labour market as well as potential external job offers. In addition, people who have changed their employer are asked about reasons for this change and its consequences. Our scope for the empirical analysis is further enhanced by linking our survey data with worker social security records and the IAB establishment panel.

The output of the first phase demonstrates the potential of this research project: These include papers investigating the determinants and success of recruitment strategies and on the relationship between the design of variable pay schemes and employee cooperation. The determinants of and the effect on work-life balance of working from home are the subject of two further papers. Finally, we developed a theoretical model of the interplay between an employee`s emotional attachment to the employer and her wage growth and job search intensity and tested predictions of this model using the LPP data.

In the second phase of this project we would like to go further in our empirical tests of this model`s theoretical predictions, both with data from the LPP as well as with complementary lab experiments. Furthermore, we want to investigate the effect of training on job satisfaction and employee retention. We also plan to study the effect of gender quotas for management positions on women`s and men`s attitudes towards their employer. We would like to broaden our work on the effect of variable pay on employee satisfaction and retention by taking into account personality traits, not only using LPP data but also analysing data from a field experiment with freelance workers. Finally we want to continue our focus on employers` use of flexible work arrangements as a means of motivating employees to stay.

Principal Investigators

Patrick Kampkötter (University of Tuebingen)
Prof. Dr. Dirk Sliwka (University of Cologne)
Dr. Susanne Steffes (ZEW Mannheim)

Associated Junior Researchers

Miriam Bömer (ZEW Mannheim)
Sebastian Butschek (ZEW Mannheim)
Michael Haylock (University of Tuebingen)
Dr. Patrick Kampkötter (University of Cologne)  
Katharina Laske (University of Cologne)
Patrick Maier (University of Tuebingen)
Lea Petters (University of Cologne)

Cooperation Partners

Dr. Jens Mohrenweiser (Bournemouth University)